What happens when the government subsidizes the pill for teenage girls?

This paper investigates the consequences of a series of Swedish policy changes beginning in 1989 where different regions started subsidizing the birth control pill. The reforms were significant and applied to all types of oral contraceptives. My identification strategy takes advantage of the fact that the reforms were implemented successively over time and targeted specific cohorts of young women, in particular teenagers. This generates plausibly exogenous variation in access to the subsidy. The paper first demonstrates that access significantly increased pill use. Using regional, temporal, and cohort variation in access, I then go on to examine the impact on abortions. The estimates show that the subsidy significantly decreased the abortion rate by about 8 percent. Furthermore, long-term access decreased the likelihood of teenage childbearing by about 20 percent. However, there is no significant effect on labor supply, marriage, educational attainment or welfare take-up.

Source: “Putting teenagers on the pill: the consequences of subsidized contraception” from Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation Working Paper 2009:8

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